Monday, August 1, 2011

Mystery Monday and a Future Tutorial

I had this idea that I wanted to work on over the weekend, photographing the steps so that I could make a tutorial. I got the supplies I needed (including a small, portable sewing machine) and was determined to work on it. Other things came up and the tutorial (nor did finishing The Dionne Catuplets) didn't happen and last night I was feeling like I was going to lose it. So I thought I'd give it a try tonight but I just didn't get it done.  I began to write the tutorial, sans doing it and therefore no pictures, so that will have to be tomorrow, I hope. If not the tutorial, at least finish the Catuplets already!

And now for a little genealogy. Today is Monday and over at Geneabloggers the blogging beat prompt I'm going with is Mystery Monday. Lola had a sister Bessie. Bessie was the daughter of George and Effie (like Lola) and much about her still evades me. I know that she was born 1 July 1893, about 7 months after George and Effie married and that she married a man named Benjamin Trump.

I found them living together on the 1920 census in Greenville, Illinois. Come the 1930 census, much to my shock, Bessie was an "inmate" at Alton State Hospital! Interesting indeed.  Two sisters just about a year apart in age, find themselves in "mental" hospitals in the same year (Lola's first admittance to my knowledge was in 1930 for depression at Norwalk State Hospital in California).

After much research on both and my fave, I found Bessie's obituary. She died in a nursing home in Peoria, Illinois that is now under new ownership. My sister and I also found living relatives of the Trump family and did reach out to them. They responded earlier this year, but, probably didn't find our requests for information and pictures their top priorities, so, I think it's time to reconnect.

From what I can tell, Bessie and Ben did not have children, but again, that's from what I can tell. You really never know. Bessie's obituary listed among her survivors, two nieces and they are now deceased. It was their descendants we reached out to. Basically, the descendants didn't really remember Aunt Bessie but promised to contact others that might have the pictures or either remember her or know of her! Then silence. Now, I know pictures exist as one doesn't spend say 50 years as a member of family without someone having pictures!

Bessie died in that Peoria nursing home on 7 Feb 1976. So while I still try looking for any information on her that I can find, I am also trying to find information on her husband, Ben. I am not sure what became of their marriage but he was listed as spouse on her death certificate and even mentioned in her obituary, yet I cannot find a death record for him. I know that there is no way in hell he is still alive as he was born in 1889. The mysteries of Bessie and Ben do haunt me and I need to refocus on finding them.

I do have a copy of Ben's WWI draft registration from 5 June 1917 where he indicates he's married, and a copy of his WWII draft registration from 27 April 1942.  The WWII draft registration did not ask marital status so none is indicated. It did ask for "the name and address of a person who will always know your address" and Ben listed a friend who is also now deceased. He was also living in Donnellson, Illinois at that time. Did Ben basically leave her after she was admitted to Alton? Did she ever get released?  Why was she admitted? Why did his nieces seem to be connected to her at the time of her death? What happened to Ben and when did he die?

I belong to the Illinois State Genealogy Society and they have recently added a message board to their site for members. Oh, happy day! I can tell you now, I'll be posting there! My many posts regarding Ben and Bessie at Rootsweb/Ancestry have mostly gone unanswered, but I did have someone contact me and she was awesome and very helpful. She even went to the hospital where Bessie died but wasn't able to get much information! I tell you, the genealogy community is like no other! The help is unbelievable!

Of course, if I don't find anything on Bessie or Ben, there's always the 1940 census which may hold some answers. Although I anxiously await that, it won't be released to the public until April of 2012. I really hope to find answers prior to that.


  1. You're task is huge. My grandfather died and is buried in America. I can't find any trace of the place my mother remembers but then she has got a tenendcy to snatch words out of the air. Oh to have documentary proof!!

  2. Send me what you know about your grandfather (date of birth, place of birth, name, date of death or approx date and possible place of death). Also any other family members you know of such as his parents or spouse or approximate time he was in America. I can research that for you. I'm pretty good at that and am in the market to volunteer my services in the hopes of turning that into a "paying" gig as a genealogist.

    You can send it to me via email here or via Etsy convo. I'll see what I can dig up. There's also a great site called It's really cool, but if your family members' graves haven't been document or photographed by someone, chances are you won't find anything. I have found dates of death for family members on my grandmother's side on findagrave that I couldn't otherwise find!

  3. You really have a wealth of information available over in America. I think we're only just starting to catch up here, a lot is online but it's patchy and census information isn't released for 100 years.

    I'll probably start researching mine again during the winter............well that's the intention!

    And thank you for the kind words about my shop in yesterday's comment - much appreciated!

  4. Love the interesting information you provide! Makes me wish I had time to research different sides of my family!

    Always good to see info on Steve at ArtySandp!

  5. Sounds like you have been doing your homework, great stuff! how exciting for you! :)

  6. Thanks for the offer. I'll have to sit down and get all the facts from my mother. She's 97 and asks more questions than she answers. That's not her age she's always been the same!